Finding Māui: New Zealand’s own Nemo

Department of Conservation —  28/09/2015

Infographic: Help us find Māui. Māui are the rarest dolphins in the world. The underwater world in Disney’s Finding Nemo is full of cheerful, charismatic creatures.

In a whimsical nod to popular culture, scientists looked at the mythical ecosystem inhabited by Nemo and his friends and decided to see how their real-world counterparts were faring.

Still from Finding Nemo © Disney, All Rights Reserved.

It turned out that surviving in a non-Pixar sea, was a lot tougher.

According to their study, 16% of the species associated with characters in Finding Nemo faced the threat of extinction.

Still from Finding Nemo © Disney, All Rights Reserved.

“Our research highlights how very little we know about many of these animals,” said Dr Loren McClenachan, who led the research.

“It’s unthinkable that the characters in Finding Nemo could become extinct, but this is the reality unless we pay more attention to the diversity of marine life.”

Māui dolphins – New Zealand’s own Nemo

Māui dolphins are New Zealand’s own Nemo – unique, charismatic, incredibly hard to find, and in serious trouble…

Infographic: Māui dolphin - estimated population 55.

This month our Finding Māui campaign aims to take the Māui message to the masses.

Last summer we received 55 reports of Māui or Hector’s dolphins in the North Island, but next summer we want more.

Everyone needs to be equipped with accurate information on the dolphins and how to report sightings.

We’ll be blitzing our own social media accounts with #FindingMaui blog posts, facts, photos, quotes and more.

We’d love for you to share these with your social networks and contribute your own content to the conversation too.

Infographic: If you think you've spotted a Māui dolphin call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468). To find out more:

Together, let’s get behind #FindingMāui. We want make 2015/16 a record breaking summer of sightings.

Like Nemo, Māui deserve to live happily ever after.

Read more about how to report sightings of Māui dolphin.

3 responses to Finding Māui: New Zealand’s own Nemo

    maree bannink 29/09/2015 at 1:31 pm

    if the government would stop oil drilling in their very small habitat area maybe you could save them


    How can you tell the difference between a Hector’s and a Māui dolphin?


      Hector’s and Māui dolphins look identical but are actually genetically and physically different from each other. The physical differences are so minor though that the only way to really tell them apart is through DNA. Hector’s dolphins live in the South Island and Māui dolphins live on the West Coast of the North Island: